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Another Civil War?

Sandhya Somashekhar

Movie director Ron Maxwell has been in Loudoun County stumping for at least two Republican candidates in this fall's elections: Greg Ahlemann, who aims to be the next sheriff of Loudoun County, and Jill Holtzman Vogel, who hopes to succeed retiring Virginia Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr. (R-Winchester).

Maxwell made the Civil War epics "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals," the latter of which Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter called "something of a Confederate Honor Restoration Project."

What the two candidates have in common is a very early commitment to cracking down on illegal immigration, a position that has become all the rage since Prince William County passed its much-publicized resolution this summer.

It is clearly an issue close to Maxwell's own heart, too. In a letter to the Loudoun Times-Mirror late last month, Maxwell warned that allowing immigrants to flow unabated into the country could have disastrous consequences:

Mexican and American people are human -- and they will behave as all other peoples everywhere in all of human history, in predictable ways. Why on earth would we want to create the conditions in the American Southwest or for that matter all across America, for future civil strife, or in a worst case scenario, civil war?

Interestingly, one of the stars of "Gods and Generals" is Robert Duvall, who portrayed Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Duvall, who lives in Fauquier County, has dabbled in local issues of late, helping to finance the Piedmont Environmental Council's fight against a Dominion Virginia Power high-voltage power line through rural Northern Virginia.

And former Sen. George Allen played a cameo as a Confederate soldier.

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  September 13, 2007; 4:27 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2007 , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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What a generous characterization by Stephen Hunter. The film "Gods and Generals" has elsewhere been described as "whitewashing slavery."

From the Southern Poverty Law Center review of the film:

"Former Confederate leaders, preachers and ideologues, determined to shake off the notion that they had fought to defend a society based on human servitude, launched a campaign to bury the real cause of the war that has not ended to this day...

'Gods and Generals' is part of a growing movement that seeks to rewrite the history of the American South, downplaying slavery and the economic system that it sustained. In museums, schools and city council chambers, white neo-Confederates are hard at work in an effort to have popular memory trump historical accuracy.

The silver lining in this cloud, however, is that the film is so technically and dramatically bad that it will convert no one, other than those who already want to believe."

It's nothing short of amazing that candidates for elected office would openly associate themselves with such revisionist garbage. It speaks volumes about their integrity with regard to actually addressing the problems associated with illegal immigration, rather than simply grandstanding about it.

Posted by: David | September 17, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

What is also interesting is that Ron Maxwell, in addition to having passionate views about illegal immigration, also has passionate views about controlling growth and writes about the suburbanization of the Piedmont with abhorrance. He describes suburbia as souless places that new residents quickly abondon. You can read his long drawn out thought on this in the new Piedmont Virginian magazine. It is interesting that both candidates and groups like Help Save Loudoun are so willing to allow this man to campaign for them given he despises the very neighborhoods that seek to "protect".

Posted by: Jane | September 19, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

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